Questions for Reflection and Discussion (Acts 9 36-43)

picture of the dorcas gazelle
Think of something lively …

The text we’re studying* for Sunday, February 18 is Acts 9:36-43. Here are a few questions that might be worth reflecting on and discussing in class:

Why do the disciples in Joppa send for Peter? Why do we think that – from something in the text (what?), from something in our experience, from other readings of the story we have come across, …? Do they seem to have any expectations, and if so, what do we think those are? Again, what are our reasons for thinking this? Can we think of an analogous situation in our own church, and what would it be?

The text tells us that Tabitha/Dorcas was “full of good works and acts of charity.” Does this give us any impression of her role in the church in Joppa? Have we known people like Tabitha/Dorcas? What impact would that person’s death have had (or, did it have) on their church? Does that comparison affect the way we think about what is happening in the story? How?

Does Peter make any choices or decisions in the story? When?

One of Peter’s first acts in Joppa is to clear the room and pray. Why do we think that is? The text does not tell us anything about the content of Peter’s prayer. Would we like to know? Why or why not? Do we have ideas about what Peter’s prayer might have been? What do we think? Where do we get those ideas from?

How did Tabitha/Dorcas and the disciples in Joppa respond to this event? Do we know? How? How would we respond to an event like this, if we were Tabitha/Dorcas? If we were members of her community? How would an event like this affect our lives afterwards, do we think? If we had an opportunity or had the power to take part in an event like this, would we want to? What part would we want to or be willing to play? Why?

What does a story like this do for people today? Does it strengthen faith, challenge faith, raise questions for faith, other? Why? What questions does the story raise for us? Why? What do we do with those questions? Why?

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